p:ear builds positive relationships with homeless and transitional youth through education, art and recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives.
We admire every homeless youth’s intelligence, and capacity for humor and love in the face of great adversity.
On any given day in Portland, there are hundreds of homeless youth on the street. For the individuals affected, homelessness is personally devastating. For our community, the financial and opportunity costs are infinite. Together, as a community, we can work together to create solutions. We can effect lasting, systemic change.
At p:ear, our work starts with the realities of today. It ends when young people find and embrace tomorrow. Our beauty—our core essence—is in everything in between. It’s in the kids, their daily experience, their struggles, and triumphs. It’s in their journey. We believe every homeless youth has a future.
And we believe that together we can change lives.
We know it’s possible. How? Our p:ear youth show us every day. At p:ear, we meet today’s needs. We offer love, build trust, and create hope. And then, through mentorship and experience, we support youth on their journey to tomorrow.
We believe that together, we can change lives now.
At p:ear, we regard youth homelessness as a critical human rights issue that needs to be addressed through a lens of dignity and respect. These youth come from a variety of backgrounds and often face debilitating challenges including familial abuse; mental health challenges; incarceration; sexual minority issues; substance abuse; mental, emotional, physical and sexual violence; failure of state care systems; absent or rotating caregivers. They enter young adulthood feeling victimized, isolated and distrustful. Their stories are not just personal tragedies, they are a tragedy for our entire community.
The youth at p:ear lack job and life skills, work experience, training and confidence to find meaningful ways to gainful employment. While many factors lead to their homelessness, the overwhelming contributor is a lack of connection to a supportive community. These kids deserve opportunities and experiences in which to gain the confidence, skills and pride required to establish necessary economic stability while transitioning into a contributing adult members of our community.
p:ear has identified a strong model for helping people end their homelessness. p:ear assists youth to recognize themselves as strong and capable people, while providing them with supportive relationships and engaging opportunities.
Besides providing a foundation of food and safety for these youth through the Food and Kitchen Program, p:ear has 3 Main Areas of Focus: Education, Arts and Recreation. From interdisciplinary custom workshops and mentoring to our p:ear works job training programs (including the p:ear barista school, p:ear prints and the bike mechanic school), youth are guided through increasing levels of depth, engagement and responsibility, with an emphasis on the social, fiscal and practical skills that will serve them in their future.
“p:ear works” creatively builds pathways for youth to end their homelessness and poverty by providing meaningful job training and employment opportunities
Since its inception in 2002, p:ear has mentored over 4,500 youth.
p:ear has provided over 308,000 hours of safe space and education, art and recreation programming.
of kids per day
Number of meals
shared per year
Youth enrolled at p:ear
Hours spent at p:ear
by youth in 2016
Founders: Beth Burns, Pippa Arend, Joy Cartier
Founded in 2002, p:ear has provided invaluable mentoring services to Portland’s homeless and parent-less young people for over 15 years.
p:ear’s mission is to builds positive relationships with 15-25 year old homeless and transitional youth through Education, Arts and Recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful and healthier lives. Each year, p:ear serves roughly 800 homeless young people. Currently, we see 55 youth per day.
p:ear was created from a vision of compassion. We believe that each youth deserves to empower themselves and to develop a positive self-identity that encompasses a sense of self-worth and a capacity for risk, growth, change.
- Provide conditions that develop the intellectual, emotional, and physical skills that allow each individual youth to reach their highest
potential. While important, we believe that food, shelter and employment are not enough to sustain these young people either on
or off the streets. At p:ear, we model the practical aspects of providing for oneself both materially and emotionally and teach
trust by trusting these youth with full access to materials, food and bathroom facilities.
- Create a mentor-based program that values flexibility and rebuilds bridges between youth and the community. p:ear provides programs
that maintain opportunities for personal choice while giving youth the role models, guidance and support they need to make the
transition into a meaningful and healthy adulthood. Youth and the community interact on a regular and equal basis, creating the
potential for understanding and renewed interest on both sides.
- Help homeless and transitional youth see themselves beyond homelessness. At p:ear, young adults are students, artists, writers, musicians and athletes, which encourages new depth in their perceptions of themselves and others. We believe that a life lived within the shackles of a restricted self-image lacks light, depth, inspiration and hope.
founders & directors
Sarah Louise Allen
Education Programs Coordinator
Art Programs Coordinator
Recreation Programs Coordinator
Safe Space Coordinator
Development and Community Relations Manager
p:ear youth need you! Come cook for us, or teach a workshop, or just be in our space interacting with young people. Click here to read though the eligibility requirements and to sign up for the next training.
Volunteers in 2016
hours per year
Volunteers have been with
p:ear for 5 years or more
p:ear is grateful for our tremendous community of support!
Donald H. Friedman JD
Chair, Pyramid Communications
Vice Chair, Community Volunteer
Immix Law Group
Treasurer, The Lemelson Foundation
Susan Johnson, MD